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August 15, 2019


The Rijksmuseum displays the recently-acquired Han de Vries Collection of Oboes for the very first time (Rijksmuseum, Room 2.28).

In the 1970s, Han de Vries (1941)―leading exponent of the Dutch School of oboe playing, principal oboist at the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and then internationally acclaimed soloist―started what later became one of the greatest collections of early oboes. Following the acquisition of his prestigious collection, which includes no less than 69 early oboes and 14 works on paper, the Rijksmuseum now boasts one of the largest collections of early oboes, and the world’s largest collection of Dutch oboes. This collection now also speaks to the relevance of the woodwind-instrument industry in the Dutch Republic in the late 17th century. Some of the earliest baroque oboes known today were in fact made in Amsterdam between 1680 and 1700.

For the first time, highlights from this new acquisition are on display and will be on view until 22 January 2019.  The exhibition focuses on the history and development of the oboe and other related instruments―the shawm, the oboe d’amore, the English horn, and the French musette. Among the oboes on display, there are remarkable exemplars by prominent mastermakers such as Richard Haka, Coenraad Rijkel, Guillaume Triébert, as well as Henri Brod and the oboe this famous maker and virtuoso played at the end of his career. The display includes rare prints and books, also from the Han de Vries Collection, and is enriched by a painting by Jan Steen representing a young girl playing the shawm (ca. 1670), belonging to the Rijksmuseum Collection of Dutch Paintings.

The acquisition of the Han de Vries Collection has been made possible with the support of the BankGiro Loterij (https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/nl/nu-in-het-museum/nieuws/rijksmuseum-toont-onlangs-verworven-collectie-hobos)